Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (‘Jokowi’) appears to have won the Indonesian presidency today by a steady, if narrow, margin.
Both he and former military leader Prabowo Subianto have declared victory, but Jokowi’s claim to Indonesia’s presidency is far more credible. Final results, however, won’t be announced by Indonesia’s elections commission until July 22, creating a window of uncertainty for the next 13 days.
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Why, ultimately, should we be relatively confident in Jokowi’s actual win? In Indonesia, there’s a handful of private companies that conduct ‘quick counts’ of the votes. These ‘quick counts’ are generally reliable, and they’re based on exhaustive counting of the real votes. These aren’t exit polls, these aren’t samples, these are full counts.
All of the most reputable companies showed a narrow lead for Jokowi. The Center for Strategic and International Studies gives Jokowi a 52% to 48% margin, while Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting determined Jokowi won with 52.8% to just 47.2% from Prabowo. Kompas‘s quick count gave Jokowi a 52.34% edge against 47.66% for Prabowo.
Though this year marks the first closely contested race since Indonesia turned to direct presidential elections in 2004, the ‘quick counts’ were generally very reliable during Indonesia’s April legislative elections, which delivered a narrow victory for Jokowi’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P, Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan).
Jokowi, in a gracious victory speech, cautioned against fraud and tampering with the final vote, while Prabowo delivered a less assured address to supporters urging caution:
“I want to assert, that this victory is not the victory of Jokowi-JK [Jusuf Kalla], not the parties’ victory, nor the victory of the success team. This is the victory of the entire Indonesian people. Once again dear all, this is the victory of the whole Indonesian population!” he said. “Now our obligation is to guard today’s election outcome until it becomes the official result of the KPU. We must guard it and make sure that vote counting at the KPU proceeds properly, cleanly and without any intervention from any party. I call on all parties not to try to tarnish the sincere aspiration of the people of Indonesia in today’s ballot.”
Several hours after Jokowi’s speech, rival Prabowo Subianto took the stage inside the ballroom of the Bidakara building in South Jakarta to deliver a fiery speech in which he instructed his supporters not to believe quick counts that were not financed by his team. “It is not over. We should respect the KPU [General Elections Commission]. The battle is not over. We should ensure that the KPU is not influenced by circulating quick counts that are misleading,” said Prabowo.
Only one public quick count showed a Prabowo lead, TV One, which Out of six major Quick Counts seen by The Australian, only one attributed victory to Prabowo, TV One, which projected a 51% to 49% margin in favor of the former general. That’s a problematic count, however, because the partisan TV One is owned by Aburizal Bakrie, the leader of Golkar (Partai Golongan Karya, Party of the Functional Groups), the second-largest party in Indonesia’s legislature, which supports Prabowo in the current race.